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Mice Net : June 2009
technology story by Ray shaw wwweb what a tangled Ray Shaw Recently got his gismos off facilitating a session at aIMe with technology wizard corbin Ball. Corbin’s brief was to identify the top five meetings industry technology trends. I have paraphrased these and added my own commentary where appropriate. I 1. Meeting and event management will be increasingly web based I have previously written that 90 per cent of a meeting manager’s time can be spent in front of a computer screen. Well it looks like web technology (broadly referred to as Web 2.0) will ultimately be able to assist us to do even more from the comfort of our typist’s chair. We all know about software like EVENTS Pro (www.certain. com) that handles delegate registration, accommodation, travel, scheduling, sponsorship, exhibition, membership, etc. It is an essential tool of the trade. But Web 2.0 internet based applications are being churned out with amazing speed to help conduct the business of meetings management. Visit my hotel – virtually. Map out the exhibition booths with a few clicks. Set up a simple website to promote an event including an RSVP and ticketing functionality. Send out requests for proposals giving more suppliers more opportunities to get a slice of your business. Promote virtually via Twitter, YouTube, Face Book or Second Life. Blog yourself to oblivion commenting on the speaker and topic relevance. These and many more tools will increasingly become the norm in meetings management. What is web 2.0? Web 1.0 is/was simply putting your brochure on the web and maybe adding some e-commerce. Nice looking but passive. Web 2.0 is all about interaction where the visitor interacts with the site and other users. • They may see a virtual world (www.secondlife.com a free online virtual world imagined and created by its residents with lots of relevance to the meetings industry) • Share twitters (www.twitter.com – where you answer the question “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less and share this with fellow Twits…) • Set up a Wiki (www.wikipedia.com an online encyclopaedia which enables you to share information with the entire www community) • Influence friends and infuriate others at www.facebook.com (man if you don’t have an entry you must be like really old – over 30). had the privilege of facilitating a hugely successful master class session at AIME 09 presented by Corbin Ball, undoubtedly the world’s foremost authority on meetings industry technology. • Blog – just let it all hang out and comment on whatever interests you (www.blogger.com). • Host pod casts or post videos (www.youtube.com) The point is that Web 1.0 is no longer effective in promoting meetings or events when there is so much innovation in Web 2.0. Don’t be a dinosaur. 2. Wireless broadband internet ubiquitous In the USA and many Asian countries the internet is ubiquitous and fast (at least 20Mbps - called VDSL or the speed required to play video). It is also often free or very low cost. The trend is to wireless internet as it easier to set up as it uses existing mobile phone networks and is not constrained by a landline. Now let me tell you about Australia. Telstra has pretty much an Australia-wide NextG (3.5G) network and Optus/ Vodaphone/Virgin/3 etc., share a 3G network that covers most capital city CBD areas. To access the internet over a mobile phone you need (a) a smart phone and (b) a data package. A smart phone is a little computer with a touch screen that can run programs, access the internet, download emails as well as make phone calls. They include: Apple iPhone; Windows mobile phones like the HTC Touch or Samsung Omnia; Google Android phones like the HTC Dream; Blackberry; and Symbian as used on Nokia smart phones. Data packages cost big money in Australia. If you accidentally use data and don’t have a “carrier plan” it will cost you $2 per MB – that’s a whopping $2000 per GB. A Telstra 1GB plan will cost about $60 per month on top of your voice plan. Others have lower cost plans but very limited coverage. At the AIME MasterClass we conducted a quick poll. Q. How many of you have accessed the internet on your mobile phone i.e. have some data included in your voice phone plan? A. 12.5 per cent. Q. How many of you have a data package and access 500MB or more a month? A. 3 per cent. So whilst Corbin is right about the need for fast, cheap and ubiquitous internet access especially via smart phones it won’t happen here soon without some considerable lobbying of the government and Telstra. NEXT ISSUE: three more meetings industry trends as discussed by Corbin Ball and Ray Shaw. Ray Shaw is an accredited meeting manager (AMM), IT journalist and chairman of Event Planners Australia. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eventplanners.com.au. mice.net 121